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NEPRA Rejects Lower Rate for Solar-Powered Consumer Buying Electricity

NEPRA rejects proposal to electricity rates for rooftop solar users.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has abandoned plans to change the prices of electricity purchased by DISCOs from net metering users after months of rumors’ and significant pressure from various government and corporate sectors.

The regulator previously considered the written and oral objections from stakeholders opposing the downgrade, but ultimately decided not to change the 2015 NEPRA (Alternative & Renewable Energy) Distributed Generation and Net Metering Regulation.

It “acknowledges” today that there are currently not many net metering units, making up less than 1% of the total energy purchased by DISCOs.

As per NEPRA, the economic advantages of net metering in terms of dumping more expensive electricity, saving money on foreign exchange, and eliminating grid inefficiencies are substantial.

The Authority seemed determined to reduce the rate of Rs. 19.32 per unit and replace it with the National Energy Purchase Price (NAEPP) of Rs. 9 per unit in order to raise the sale price of net metering power slightly above the cost of solar projects, so the new perspective is unexpected.

Relevantly, NEPRA suggested NAEPP in Sub-Regulation 5 of Regulation 14 of the Regulations, which started the process of revising the NEPRA (Alternative & Renewable Energy) Distributed Generation and Net Metering Regulations, 2015 about five months ago.

The propose amendment was advertise in newspapers for 30 days to gauge public opinion.

Because of the numerous strong comments from different stakeholders and media stories, the Authority decided to hold a public hearing on the subject on September 27, 2022. Newspapers and the NEPRA website at the time also featured an announcement of the public hearing.

At the hearing, the public and consumers firmly opposed the proposed amendments, arguing that net metering is one of the most efficient methods.

Incurring low distribution losses and requiring no investment in distribution infrastructure, and that the proposed amendment in the Regulations would deter net metering/solar installation.

After months of deliberation, the Authority has given in to pressure from top government officials and private sector investors.

Where as despite the Authority initially emerging confident during the hearing that it would be able to lower the rates of solar electricity purchased by DISCOs from Green Meter holders.

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